Four Britons named among top actors of the decade

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FOUR British names have been included in a list of Hollywood's 25 greatest actors of the decade.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman are amongst those to appear on the Entertainment Weekly magazine list, jointly topped by Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey and Samuel L Jackson.

They join such Hollywood luminaries as Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Tom Hanks and Robin Williams.

The authors decided to exclude "pure movie stars" such as Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, who are described as "larger-than-life screen idols whose charisma outstrips their ability to disappear into any role". The magazine adds: "They're great, but this list isn't about star quality."

Women are not included on the list, but will appear on a separate one to be published by the magazine in due course.

Entertainment Weekly heaps praise on Sir Anthony Hopkins, stating: "Hopkins is the sort of sublimely subtle actor who makes you glad there will always be a Wales."

It says of Gary Oldman: "When he's mean, he's magnificent, arousing audiences with performances as sharp and cool as icicles."

The list omits "greying greats" such as Jack Nicholson because only actors whose best work - whether as leading men or supporting actors - can be seen currently are eligible. The compilers also concentrated on men whose best work has been primarily in film, which means Broadway stars and TV greats are missing.

The magazine explains through its website exactly how it whittled down Hollywood's greatest names to a mere 25. "Ultimately, we chose those actors who have most moved us over the past 10 years, whose presence on the screen always makes us perk up in our seats, whose technical finesse never fails to impress us," it says.

The authors also admit, however, that "choosing the 25 best actors of the1990s was by far the most challenging inscribing we've ever attempted. Not just because it's so subjective - one man's killer performance is another's tour de crap - but also because there's a tremendous amount of extraordinary talent these days."

The Top 25 Hollywood

Actors of the Nineties

Kevin Bacon

Alec Baldwin

Jeff Bridges

Nicolas Cage

Daniel Day-Lewis

Robert De Niro

Johnny Depp

Robert Downey Jr

Ralph Fiennes

Laurence Fishburn

Morgan Freeman

Tom Hanks

Ed Harris

Sir Anthony Hopkins

Samuel L Jackson

Harvey Keitel

Kevin Kline

William H Macy

John Malkovich

Gary Oldman

Sean Penn

Kevin Spacey

Denzel Washington

Robin Williams

James Woods

Entertainment Weekly